Every host needs a fresh, multi-purpose, readily available snack to serve guests, whatever the occasion and whenever it arises. Toss in a range of potential dietary requirements—vegan, gluten-free—and hors d’oeuvre planning seems to get even more complicated.
Since 2012, Jane Yuan has been making it, well, simple, with her line of dehydrated fruit crisps, Simple & Crisp. After a thin, candied orange slice caught her eye and taste buds while dining in Los Angeles years ago, Yuan began experimenting with dehydrating fruit in Seattle, Washington. Her delicate, wafer-thin slices became an instant hit with friends and were quickly picked up by retailers across the United States and Canada.
“I started Simple & Crisp out of a passion for doing something fun and different,” says Yuan. “I wanted to create something that was not your typical sugary and chewy snack-based dried fruit, but rather something that was beautiful and elegant.” She started with oranges, and her collection now includes blood orange, apple, and pear crisps as well, sourced locally from Washington and Oregon farmers (though she gets her citrus fruits from California). Next up: pineapple crisps and new crackers made from the skins of pressed cranberries. She’s also experimenting with ones made from raspberry puree, in addition to lemons, limes, and grapefruits.
For Yuan, part of the pleasure is finding the perfect pairing for each offering. “Pairing crisps with a soft cheese is always nice. A chèvre on citrus is really great, or Gruyère on apple. They’re a great gluten-free cracker option.” She also recommends using the crisps to style desserts or cocktails, such as dressing vanilla ice cream with all four flavours for a pop of colour or adding an apple slice to white sangria. Pair orange crisps with a rich merlot or a light pinot grigio, or top a pear slice with prosciutto. The blood orange crisps are an attractive and tasty addition to a pot of blended fruit tea.